What You Should Know About COVID-19 From a Pulmonologist

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Provided by Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center

Meet Behnam Goudarzi, M.D., FCCP. He’s Board Certified in Pulmonary Medicine, Critical Care Medicine, Internal Medicine and Sleep Medicine. Dr. Goudarzi is the president of the medical staff at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center.

What are your thoughts as a physician working during a pandemic?
During this devastating pandemic, as a physician, I’d like to urge everyone to stand as one and follow strict social distancing and healthy hygiene guidelines. We have all seen what happens otherwise. This virus spreads fast.

We are in an evolving scenario. Now is the time for mitigation. Every person’s concern should be to try to decrease the number of people who are affected in a short period of time. This way, we can get more and more prepared in terms of PPEs, testing, treatment and vaccination.

What are your concerns as a pulmonologist?
Patients with certain chronic diseases are at higher risk, despite their age. The hallmark of this disease is respiratory failure due to lung inflammation, a type of pneumonia. Chronic respiratory illnesses put patients at a disadvantage. Patients who suffer from respiratory illnesses should be extra careful to avoid
contracting the virus.

Though it’s still early, what are the potential lasting effects of COVID-19 on both patients with and without existing lung conditions?
Currently, there is no evidence that this kind of pneumonia has any different long-term effects than other types of pneumonias. In general, every time somebody catches pneumonia, varying degrees of scars can develop in lungs. There are no proven curing treatments at this time, though certain long-existing medications have shown some promising effects.

What do you want patients and the community to know about COVID-19?
Information and knowledge about COVID-19 is increasing by the moment. Recent research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the “maximum transmission distance of SARS-CoV-2 aerosol” could be up to 13 feet. Coronavirus does not walk or fly. It is spread by humans, so let’s defeat it by not spreading it.

To learn more about COVID-19, visit sentaraupdates.com.

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